Blockade Australia Disrupt Coal Shipments in Fossil Fuel Protest

Climate protestors, Blockade Australia, have targeted coal shipments across Australia this week, leading protests in Newcastle, Brisbane, and Melbourne. The protests were held to highlight Australia’s high fossil fuel consumption and lack of action on climate change.

In Newcastle, a protestor suspended themselves from a rail bridge at the coal ports, blocking trains and transportation. The protester was livestreaming the event as she swung hundreds of meters above the ground from the Kooragang rail bridge. In Brisbane, the protests again targeted the coal port, with a protester causing disruptions sitting atop a bamboo pole.

Finally, a third protestor managed to cease all operations from the coal port in Melbourne, the largest port in Australia. They attached themselves to a pole and were suspended above the roads leading in and out of the port.

When discussing the reason for the protests, Blockade Australia stated they were part of a “coordinated mobilisation in response to Australia’s facilitation of the climate and ecological crisis and its active blocking of impactful action towards a safe climate”. However, their actions were condemned by New South Wales premier, Chris Minns. They stated, “Emergency service workers, particularly the police, are put in extreme danger as a result of having to go and remove people from dangerous situations.”

Australian Coal Field

In response, Blockade Australia said their actions were “business as usual”, and that the blocking of ports is needed to “shake up the system.” Australia is the second largest coal exporter in the world and has the third largest coal reserve. Blockade Australia’s actions are aiming to tackle this huge industry and hold the Australian Government accountable for it’s major involvement within the fossil fuel industry.

The previous Australian Government introduced new laws that would help crack down on disruptive protests. Protesters who actively cause disruptions to the flow of traffic and interferences with emergency workers could face jail time of up to 2 years as well as fines of up to $22,000.

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